By Josh Kramer
To the disdain of nearly the entire country, Miami handled the Dallas Mavericks in game one with relative ease in front of a crazed South Beach Crowd. Sadly, I must state that tonight is the beginning of the end for the Dallas Mavericks.
A good friend recently told me that you there are two types of friends in present day: Your normal sports fans and those who like the Miami Heat. And I have to admit, though a bit of an overstatement, it is not that far-fetched. Since last July, the Heat have taken on the role as the NBA’s version of the MonStars. They have been a villainous figure that the majority of the country has rooted against all year long. Well I hate to say it, the bad guys not only will win tonight, but they will win the series.
The statistics do not lie about the history of game 1 winners in the playoffs. Just ask Phil Jackson, arguably the greatest coach of all time. He never lost a series in which his team captured the opener.
73% of teams who have won game one in the NBA Finals have also gone on to capture the championship. So that is already a bad sign for Dallas. Secondly, in the series opener, Miami had two starters held to zero points. That means that 40% of their starting lineup accounted for a whopping goose egg. Yet they won the game? How many times can you ever remember a game in which two starters on an NBA team did not score one point? This is not recreational or CYO baskeball people. And this happened in the NBA Finals nonetheless. In addition, Miami worked Dallas on the boards in the series opener. Not only does Miami have more lethal scoring threats, but they play much better defense. These were already known facts. Dallas getting outrebounded the way they did on Tuesday night will be unacceptable. If Dallas looses the battle on the boards every game by a wide margin, this could end up being a sweep. Next, Dirk put up 27 points in game one. In doing so, he shot under 50% from the floor which is rarity for the outstanding 7 footer, and he injured his middle finger on his left hand. It was already a stretch in my eyes to give Dallas a prayer at winning this series. If their unquestioned leader is not at 100%, it becomes even more of a stretch. Lastly, Miami outshot Miami from 3-point range on Tuesday. If Miami continues to shoot at 45% from beyond the arc, this series will be a sweep. Luckily for the Mavericks, I do not see this happening. In the playoffs thus far, Miami is averaging a little less than three 3-pointers per game at a rate of 34%.
If Dallas loses tonight, which I think they will, this series is over. Sure, they may stretch it to five or six games, but they will just be postponing the inevitable. Hopefully Mark Cuban is getting his team hyped up right now. Tonight is the biggest game in franchise history. And believe me, Miami will not relinquish and a 2-0 lead like Dallas did back in 2006.
This unfortunately is not the movie “Space Jam.” Michael Jordan is not going to dunk the ball from half court. The MonStars will come out victorious tonight and in the series.
Unlike in movies, real life is not always about story book endings. The bad guys can win sometimes too.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.